The hegemony of the Hubble telescope won’t disappear any soon, although the deployment of the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope is only a matter of time. The over 30-year-old telescope still has a lot of exciting space objects to unveil for humanity, and a new discovery proves it.
According to Space.com, Hubble just snapped a photo of an incredibly sparkling and beautiful galaxy cluster located roughly 180,000 light-years away from us: in the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is a dwarf galaxy that revolves around the Milky Way.
Meet the open star cluster NGC 330
NASA and the European Space Agency released the photo of the majestic cluster, and you can even delight your eyes with it by watching the footage below:
ESA officials declared, as cited by Space.com:
The most stunning object in this image is actually the very small star cluster in the lower left corner of the image, surrounded by a nebula of ionised hydrogen (red) and dust (blue),
Named Galfor 1, the cluster was discovered in 2018 in Hubble’s archival data, which was used to create this latest image from Hubble.
NGC 330 is located in the constellation Tucana, to be more precise. The open star cluster was discovered by James Dunlop in 1826, and it was described by the British/Danish astronomer John Louis Emil Dreyer as “a globular cluster, very bright, small, a little extended, stars from 13th to 15th magnitude.”
The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), aka the Nubecula Minor, is a dwarf irregular galaxy located near the Milky Way. SMC has a diameter of “only” 7,000 light-years, and it contains several hundred million stars.
The James Webb Space Telescope is awaited to take Hubble’s role in November. Even more, the next-generation telescope will be used by astronomers to take a closer look at stars in order to uncover new things about their formation and what could they possibly be harbouring.